A 41 year old Pennsylvania man was take into custody today, alleged to be the man variously described as “The Swiss Cheese Pervert” and “Swiss Cheese Masturbator.” Christopher Pagano is accused of having a rather strange paraphilia. He allegedly would drive around with either no pants or his pants pulled down, with a piece of Swiss cheese in his hands. That would be strange enough, but Pagano then has allegedly proceeded to offer female pedestrians money to masturbate him with the Swiss cheese.
I suspect that Pagano will be charged with indecent exposure (a second degree misdemeanor), open lewdness (a third degree misdemeanor), disorderly conduct (can be charged as third degree misdemeanor or summary offense), harassment by communication (a third degree misdemeanor), and criminal solicitation (graded as a third degree misdemeanor in this case). The criminal solicitation charge arises from Pagano’s offer to pay women money to perform a sex act on him, thus soliciting them to engage in prostitution. Based on media reports, it appears that no women took Pagano up on his offer. Perhaps he would have had more success if he offered more than $20.
Assuming all the women approached by Pagano were adults, none of the potential charges are SORNA offenses, meaning that Pagano will not have to register as a sex offender if he is convicted. SORNA stands for “Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act,” a version of which is now in place in all 50 states. SORNA is much stricter than the Pennsylvania’s older Megan’s Law, but even with the changes, these offenses are not deemed to be serious enough to require a defendant to register as a sex offender. That may seem like a real slap in the face to a Centre County woman, who must now register as a sex offender, despite never having committed a sex offense! Rather, the woman willfully violated a child custody order and was convicted of interference with the custody of children, which just happens to be a SORNA offense. These were her own children and she did nothing sexual with them. As Mr. Bumble quips in “Oliver Twist,” “The law is a ass. An idiot.” (sic.).
My personal take on Pagano is that his paraphilia is related to inducing a reaction of disgust and revulsion in his victims rather than actually being masturbated with a piece of Swiss cheese. He knows damn well that no random woman he approaches on the street is going to provide him with a hand release for $20, but she is likely to be visibly freaked out. If a woman actually took him up on the offer, he would probably be so shocked, he would not know how to react. And such a woman would be just as twisted as Pagano himself. Or maybe just a crackhead.
Matt McClenahen is a criminal defense attorney in State College, Pennsylvania, home of Penn State University. He is fascinated by abnormal psychology, which often intersects with the criminal justice system.